Where California Stands on Racial Equity

Jun 10, 2024

Four years ago, the public murder of George Floyd subjected people around the world to tragic realities that communities of color already know are true – that current systems of power have brought injustice to their neighborhoods time and time again.

Following that tragedy and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and governments across the US made fiscal commitments, many of which have not been fulfilled. 

In California, 38 governments passed resolutions declaring racism a public health crisis as a starting point to pass new policies resulting in racial equity. Public Health Advocates and many other groups have worked to remind local officials of these declarations and demand more action than we have seen.

At the state level, a positive development was the creation of a new California Racial Equity Commission charged with developing a statewide Racial Equity Framework and Budget Equity Tool. As part of a coalition focused on racial equity, we advocated for the creation of this entity and are now working to bolster its work.

Today, we’re facing a new barrier to progress. As California faces a significant budget deficit of $73 billion, the state’s solution is to reduce or eliminate funds and programs promised to communities at the greatest risk of harm. Governor Newsom’s May Revision included harmful cuts to the public health workforce, community health workers, climate justice, behavioral health, homeless services, and more. The legislature’s joint budget plan, released two weeks ago, rejects many, but not all, of these harmful cuts.

We urge the California legislature and Newsom administration to make good on their commitments to equity and reconsider the drastic budget cuts that have been proposed.

Read this op-ed in Capitol Weekly by Elena Santamaria with NextGen Policy and Maria Barakat at the Greenling Institute about where California currently stands on racial equity.

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